Examining exemplarity in problem-based engineering education for sustainability

Virginie Felicja Catherine Servant*, Aida Olivia Pereira de Carvalho Guerra

*Corresponding author

Research output: Contribution to book/anthology/report/conference proceedingArticle in proceedingResearchpeer-review


Oskar Negt’s critical educational concept of exemplarity was a core component of problem-oriented, project based education in Denmark at its inception in the 1970s. Nearly fifty years on, this model of project education has grown in popularity around the world, especially in the field of engineering education. In the practice of engineering education today, while these projects have retained an interdisciplinary, practice-oriented, and experiential learning approach, the specific socio-historical aspects of exemplarity in Negt’s theory have fallen by the wayside. In this paper, we ask whether these aspects have a place in twenty-first century engineering education, with a specific focus on the issue of sustainability, and what could be learned from exemplarity for curriculum design. The paper critically examines Negt’s concept of exemplarity and its early application in project-based higher education in Denmark, then looks at the way in which it translated into engineering education, starting at Aalborg University, before appraising its relevance in the light of the growing number of sustainability issues covered in many engineering curricula.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationVarietas delectat…Complexity is the new normality : SEFI 47th Annual Conference Proceedings
EditorsBalázs Vince Nagy, Mike Murphy, Hannu-Matti Järvinen, Anikó Kálmán
Number of pages11
PublisherSEFI: European Association for Engineering Education
Publication date16 Sep 2019
ISBN (Electronic)978-2-87352-018-2
Publication statusPublished - 16 Sep 2019
EventSEFI annual conference 2019: Varietas delectat: Complexity is the new normality - Budapest University of Technology and Economics, Budapest, Hungary
Duration: 16 Sep 201919 Sep 2019
Conference number: 47


ConferenceSEFI annual conference 2019
LocationBudapest University of Technology and Economics
Internet address

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